Trying Ta Calm Troubled Waters ia Hoog Koeg
hasublic rtlatlc'l campaign In Hong Kong, but conitmtious negotiations over Ikt Basic Law art likely fo reinforce local doubts lhat Beijing will Itl Iht territory kttp In prtient political and
economic system after
In his first meeting with Hong Kong leaders, new Chinese Communis! Party General Secretary Jiang Zemin told members of the Basic Law Consuliaiive Committee yesterday thai Beijing it committed to maintaining the territory's capitalist system. Xu Jiatun. Beijing's unofficial representative in ihc colony, said China would not "punish" Hong Kong residents or local Chinese officials who participated in the prodemocracy demonstrations in Hong Kong. Beijing also announced that it will agreextending the time allotted Hong Kong residents to voice their opinion on the territory's future government. BbaaH
Local businessmen and politicians, however, continue to voice pessimism over Hong Kong'song Kong bankers' association has asked London to negotiate an extension of the original lease of Hong Kong and the New Territories lo the UK, which they believe will restore local business confidence. Local supporters of ihe democracy movement are ignoring China's demands they stop interfering in the mainland's domestic aflaiis by continuing to channel funds to prodemocracy organisations inside
I Jiang's and Xu's comments are little more than boilerplaie
ana probably do not signal any willingness to strengthenHong Kong's autonomyegotiations over theare likely to become even more difficult andand occasionally defiant local support forin China could prompt Beijing to toughen itspopularfears in Hona Kona about the reliability "Original document.